Secretary of State Powell says the 16 countries selected have demonstrated through their policies and practices,
they rule justly, invest in their people, and encourage economic freedom

Ambassador Subasinghe says Sri Lanka’s consecutive selection for FY 2005 bears testimony to the country creating
the right climate for economic growth and poverty alleviation with a consistent focus on the rural economy

The Board of Directors of the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) selected the second set of countries eligible for Millennium Challenge Account (MCA ) assistance in Financial Year 2005.

Sri Lanka is among the 16 countries selected as eligible to apply for MCA assistance in FY 2005. The countries selected are Armenia, Benin, Bolivia, Georgia, Ghana, Honduras, Lesotho, Madagascar, Mali, Mongolia, Morocco, Mozambique, Nicaragua, Senegal, Sri Lanka, and Vanuatu. Morocco is eligible for the first time, while the remainder were also selected in Fiscal Year 2004.

In making its determinations, the Board considered both past and current policy performance of the candidate countries in the areas of just and democratic governance, economic freedom and investing in the health and education of their people. The Board also considered trends that indicated policy improvements or slippage. This year's candidate pool included 68 countries, each with a per capita income of $1465 or less.

MCC Chairman and Secretary of State Colin Powell, at a reception today to congratulate the newly selected countries said, “for next year, we have selected 16 countries which have demonstrated through their policies and practices that they rule justly, invest in their people, and encourage economic freedom. All of us recognize that the road to reform is not easy but your governments are taking the tough steps to move in the right direction and your fellow citizens will have a brighter future as a result.”

Chairman Powell also remarked, “as President Bush said, the Millennium Challenge Account was born of the idea that we should provide greater resources to countries that are taking greater responsibility for their own development and all of the countries we have selected are doing just that.”

Sri Lanka’s Ambassador to the United States Devinda R. Subasinghe said, “ Sri Lanka’s consecutive selection for FY 2005 bears testimony to the country creating the right climate for economic growth with a consistent focus on poverty reduction.” Ambassador Subasinghe further noted, “the MCA financing will be a useful catalyst towards developing the rural economy leading to economic growth and poverty reduction.”

MCC Chief Executive Officer Paul Applegarth said, “The countries MCC has selected are being recognized for their hard work in putting into action the kinds of policies that will best meet the needs of their people, and we look forward to building partnerships with those countries that have developed a solid plan of action for reducing poverty and fueling economic growth."

The eligible countries are invited by the MCC to submit proposals for assistance, which the MCC will evaluate based on their potential to improve economic growth and reduce poverty, the quality of the consultative process that guided the development of the proposal, and the country's commitment to continued policy improvement. MCC is currently assessing fourteen proposals and concept papers from countries that were eligible in Fiscal Year 2004.

Sri Lanka has submitted its MCA Concept Paper to the MCC. The Concept Paper emphasizes rural development as a means for generating balanced economic growth. Sri Lanka also conducted a process of consultations with key stakeholders of society in formulating and developing the proposals in the present Concept Paper.

The MCA has a total of US$1 billion for FY 2004 for the 16 eligible countries and US$ 1.25 billion for FY 2005. President George W. Bush will seek US$5 billion for the MCC in 2006 (third year of MCC operation).

Embassy of Sri Lanka
Washington DC

10 November 2004


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